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The Michel Delving Mathom House  by Periantari

Summary-Faramir and Pippin share a moment together before the Battle of the Black Gate.
A/N - Written for pipwise. Thanks to slightlytookish for beta-ing!

Hopes and Reassurances

“How is your cousin Meriadoc faring?” Faramir asked Pippin during one of his daily visits to his room in the Houses of Healing. Faramir was still resting, trying to recover his wounds and the news of his father’s madness and demise. Pippin had been there to give him some details and had been supportive of his recovery. He felt he owed Pippin some of his concern and that he ought to share his worry for his kin.

“He is doing better, my lord,” Pippin replied as he settled down next to Faramir with a tray of bread, cheese and tea. “Merry is taking a nap at the moment, and I’m sparing some time from my duties to see you this afternoon. I hope that you are feeling better as well?” Pippin glanced at Faramir and saw that there still remained undeniable sorrow and guilt in his grey eyes.

“The grief for my father still weighs heavily upon me but… I find it necessary to be strong in this precarious situation we are all in,” replied Faramir slowly. “I do not feel as physically weak as I did before though. The dark nightmares from the Black Breath come and go but have not been as awful as they once were. Thank you, Peregrin Took, for showing me kindness and consideration in telling me the truth of my father’s passing the last time you visited, for you and Mithrandir are not to blame for what has come to pass with him,” Faramir paused as tears gathered in his eyes. “And I am thankful for your rescue of me…” Faramir’s voice trailed off.

“There is no need to be thankful, Lord Faramir. I was only doing my duty as a friend. Besides, Beregond also would not see you die prematurely. Again, I am truly sorry about Lord Denethor,” Pippin looked down as he recalled the horrible scene in which the madness of Denethor was displayed so fully in the pyre. “I do wish Gandalf and I could’ve done more—“

“What happened to my father is not your fault or anyone else’s. I try to remind myself of that despite frequent thoughts that do place the blame upon myself,” said Faramir with a look of anguish in his eyes. “However, it does no good to dwell on things that we cannot change.”

“It is true that blame does not do anyone good,” Pippin replied. “Merry has often blamed himself whenever something bad happens to me. I can see it in his eyes that he blames himself for what has happened to me during the Quest, especially probably when the orcs that captured us and dragged us through the plains of Rohan. I think he even blamed himself for the palantir incident.” Pippin shuddered involuntarily at those memories. “This is why I am hesitant to tell him that I have decided to go to battle at the Black Gate with Aragorn and Gandalf. I do not know how he would take this news other than to be reluctant at my going and not understanding why I must do it…” Pippin’s voice trailed off, and the look of resoluteness on his face marked his grim determination.

“Why must you do it?” inquired Faramir.

Pippin thought for a moment before answering. “I need to be there as a Knight of Gondor and I feel that it is my duty. Also, the Shire needs to be represented,” he replied, looking up to meet Faramir’s surprised eyes. “I … still have much to give back to you and Gondor for I am still very much indebted to Boromir saving us.”

“You have already done much for Gondor and me already, my friend, but I will not hinder you if your decision is made,” Faramir said quietly. “But be sure not to go because you still feel that you and Merry are indebted to my brother. It was his duty to protect you both and he would want to see you safe until the end or his efforts will be for naught.”

“I have grown and have seen much more than I had expected since I set out from the Shire intending to just follow Frodo until the end. Oddly enough, I’m not fearful of riding out…I just feel that I must. I cannot explain it. However, Lord Faramir, I just have one favor to ask of you, if I may,” Pippin said hesitantly.

“Go ahead, Pippin… I am already quite impressed by your choice to go into battle, so whatever you dear heart wants, I will see to it if I can.”

“Just… please, if you can, look after Merry?” Pippin’s eyes were clouded with worry and concern for his cousin. “I’m afraid that he’ll feel as if all his friends have left him behind again and I truly do not wish him to feel that way. I would stay, yet I would feel cowardly if I did.”

“I would be glad to do that, Pippin. It is not an impossible task at all given that we are both forced to remain here in the Houses of Healing,” Faramir said with a smile.

“Thank you,” Pippin said. “I’m glad that you support my decision to fight. I haven’t yet told Aragorn or Gandalf, not to mention Merry, of my decision,” Pippin said. “So I must go and inform them… I am glad to have talked with you first, Faramir. You have put my heart at ease for I know someone will be there for Merry.”

“The pleasure is all mine,” replied Faramir. “I’ve heard that he is the one who helped Lady Eowyn of Rohan in slaying the Witch-King and I shall be glad to keep an eye on another impressive hobbit. I’m glad for your visits and I am happy that you trust me enough to confide in me.”

“I hope I haven’t spoken too much,” Pippin said with a smile. “I never mean to chatter, especially so much as to bother you…”

“Be assured that you did not,” Faramir replied with a grin. “But there is no need to worry. I have thought that hobbits are very special ever since I met Frodo and Sam.”

“I remember you telling us about meeting them that day in the Citadel… my heart gave a great leap and I felt hopeful once more… I wonder about them a lot…” Pippin’s voice dropped as his thoughts turned to Frodo and Sam and the feeling that he couldn’t do anything to protect and help them at the moment.

Silence pervaded for a while as neither man nor hobbit spoke.

Finally Faramir spoke. “There is one thing I’ve learned about hobbits is that they are unpredictable. We called you folks “Halflings” but we did not know better. I’ve heard Mithrandir talk about small creatures from the North but did not expect them to come out and join forces with the good to fight against Sauron. Your friends are special. Frodo had an Elvish air about him and knew how to speak about the Quest before a group of strangers without divulging information about the Enemy’s Ring, while his servant, Samwise, showed personality and loyalty to his master that is unmatched; now I find your determination to do what’s right quite amazing for a hobbit that has not yet come of age. So, take heart, Pippin—perhaps it is not quite a fool’s hope to learn that the One Ring is going where the enemy least expects it to. Perhaps there will be more surprises happening before the end.”

“You are wise, Faramir and I am heartened by your optimism amidst so much sorrow. . For this confidence in us, I thank you,” said Pippin, bowing in appreciation of the Steward’s words.

“Do what you feel is right in your heart, Pippin… May Eru bless you and your task at hand,” replied Faramir placing his hand on Pippin’s shoulder and gave a reassuring squeeze.

“Thank you, Faramir… I will do what I can,” replied Pippin with a determined nod.

With this thought, both of their eyes turned to the window and looked out to the East and an increasingly darkening sky, ominous that the last battles had yet to be fought and that fortitude and strength of mind would be necessary before the very end.

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